• Tony Birkhead

Are you Thirsty? Week - 1




If you’re really thirsty, come drink!


INTRODUCTION

Describe a time you were the thirstiest? What did you do about it?

KEY SCRIPTURE

John 7:37-39

On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

READ JOHN 7:10-13; 37-39.

What initial details stick out to you as important in the text?

What, in your own words, was the invitation Jesus gave to the crowds?

The invitation was clear, but it was also incredibly controversial. In order to greater understand the gravity of the invitation, we must understand more about the environment in which it was offered. In the video session, Robby Gallaty will help us relive the Feast of the Tabernacles so that we might understand better Jesus’ generous invitation to come to Him and drink.

Why was the water such an important symbol to the people of the day?

How does knowing that background help you see why Jesus compared Himself to the water?

Unlike today, the people of that day couldn’t irrigate their crops or just turn on the faucet. No water meant no life. That’s why one of the promises of God in the Old Testament for unfaithfulness was a lack of rain. As the people gathered year after year to pray for rain at this festival, they should have been reminded that they are ultimately dependent on God for their very lives. But then, as is the case now, people tend to drink from all kinds of things that are unsatisfying and that bring death instead of life.

Why is it significant that Jesus didn’t extend an invitation to come to the synagogue, or come to the temple, but instead to come to Him and drink?

Think back over the course of your life. What are some of the sources other than Jesus from which you’ve been drinking to sustain you?

Why do you think we have the tendency to look to other sources when the living water of Jesus is available? What does that show us about our hearts?

Why must you be emptied of sin in order to drink of Him?

MOVING FORWARD

  • What is something right now you are looking to for satisfaction other than the living water of Jesus?

  • In what ways do you think Jesus wants His living water to flow out from you to others through ministry?

PRAY TOGETHER

Pray to close your group. Thank God that Jesus can truly satisfy. Repent of seeking satisfaction in any other source than Him...

COMMENTARY

John 7:1-39

7:1. Galilee (under the jurisdiction of Herod Antipas) was safer than Judea (under the Roman prefect) for Jesus since the Jews were trying to kill Him.

7:2. The Jewish Festival of Tabernacles was celebrated in September or October, two months before the Feast of Dedication (see note at 10:22). It was also called the “Feast of Booths,” because people temporarily lived in booths to remember God’s faithfulness during Israel’s wilderness wanderings (Lv 23:42-43; cp. Mt 17:4). See note at 2:13.

7:3-4. Jesus’ brothers were naturally born sons of Mary. Their names were James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon (Mt 13:55 and Mk 6:3). Their poor advice stemmed from unbelief (Jn 7:5) and revealed a fundamental misunderstanding of Jesus’ messianic identity (Mt 4:5-7).

7:6-10. On My time has not yet arrived, see note at 2:4. In 7:8, Jesus stated, I’ m not going up to the festival yet. In verse 10, we learn that He also went up, not openly but secretly (see note at v. 1). It surprises many readers to realize that Jesus used craft and subterfuge to combat opposition and false expectations.

7:12. The charge that Jesus was deceiving the people may hark back to Dt 13:1-11 (cp. Mt 27:63; Lk 23:2). Later Jewish literature called Jesus a deceiver.

7:13. The phrase they feared the Jews (cp. 9:22; 19:38; 20:19) refers to Jerusalem authorities represented by the Sanhedrin (see note at 3:1).

7:14. On the temple complex, see note at 2:14.

7:15. The Jews may include Judean crowds and Jewish authorities. Jesus lacked formal rabbinic training (as did His disciples; Ac 4:13), but His teaching and authority came from God (Jn 7:16; 8:28; cp. Mt 5:21-26; 7:28-29).

7:16. Unlike other rabbis, Jesus claimed direct knowledge from God (8:28).

7:18-19. Jesus as authoritative source contrasted Himself with vain, false prophets (Dt 18:9-22). The Jews were proud of the fact that Moses had given them the law (cp. 9:28; Rm 2:17; 9:4).

7:20. This is one of several instances where Jesus was charged with demon possession (8:48; 10:20; Mt 12:24); the same charge was leveled against John the Baptist (Mt 11:18). Other charges against Jesus included breaking the Sabbath (Jn 5:16,18; 9:16), blasphemy (5:18; 8:58-59; 10:31,33,39; 19:7), deceiving the people (7:12,47), being a Samaritan (i.e., apostate, 8:48), madness (10:20), and criminal activity (18:30).

7:21. The one work Jesus referred to was probably the healing in 5:1-15.

7:22. Circumcision was given by the fathers (i.e., Abraham; Gen 17:9-14) and Moses (Ex 12:44,48-49; Lv 12:3). Jesus’ argument was “from the lesser to the greater.” The Jews were to circumcise their males on the eighth day even if that day fell on the Sabbath (the “lesser” issue). If “perfecting” one part of a human body on the Sabbath was legitimate, how much more the healing of an entire person?

7:24. Jesus’ statement about judging may allude to Lv 19:15 (cp. Dt 16:18-19; Isa 11:3-4; Zech 7:9).

7:25-44. The next three scenes (vv. 25-31,32-36,37-44) center on the question, “Is Jesus the Christ?” Representative queries (in some cases involving misunderstanding) from the crowd serve as foils for dealing with this issue (vv. 27,31,42), in turn focusing on the supposedly unknown origins of Messiah, His performance of signs, and Bethlehem as Messiah’s birthplace.

7:26. The authorities probably refers to the Sanhedrin (v. 48; 12:42; see notes at 3:1 and 7:13).

7:27. Some rabbis taught that Messiah would be wholly unknown until He set out to procure salvation for Israel. Others felt His birthplace was foreknown (v. 42; cp. Mt 2:1-6).

7:28. On the temple complex, see note at 2:14.

7:30. On Jesus’ ability to elude His enemies, see note at 2:4.

7:31. Since Messiah would be a prophet like Moses (Dt 18:15,18) and Moses performed many miraculous signs at the exodus (Ex 7-11), Messiah was expected to perform miracles as well (see notes at Jn 6:30 and 6:31). It would have been natural for people to wonder, after witnessing Jesus’ miracles, if He was the Messiah.

7:32. The chief priests and the Pharisees, representing the Sanhedrin, deployed the temple police to arrest Jesus. The police were drawn from the Levites and were charged with maintaining order in the temple precincts. The arrest of Jesus implied that He was a criminal (but see note at vv. 45-52). The leaders hoped this would discourage people from following Him.

7:33. Six months after Jesus issued this prediction, He was crucified.

7:35. People misunderstood Jesus’ statement in verse 34. Ever since the exile, many Jews had not returned to Palestine but continued to live in the Dispersion (Gk diaspora). Greeks is synonymous with “Gentiles.”

7:37. While verse 14 referred to the festival being “already half over,” this was now the last and greatest day of the Feast of Tabernacles. Jesus’ invitation harks back to OT prophetic passages such as Isa 55:1 (see Isa 12:3).

7:38-39. Streams of living water flowing from deep within Jesus’ followers fulfill the end-time blessings predicted in the OT. John noted in verse 39 that these streams are emblematic of the Spirit, who would be given after Jesus’ exaltation with the Father (20:22).

DAILY QUIET TIME GUIDE

HOW TO HAVE A DAILY QUIET TIME

The QT Guide is designed to help you MOVE with God through Bible Reading, reflection and prayer. It can be completed in about 9 minutes.

UPWARD: 1⁄2 Minute Preparing Your Heart: Invest the first 30 seconds preparing your heart. You might pray, “Lord, cleanse my heart so You can speak to me through the Scriptures. Make my mind alert, my soul active, and my heart responsive. Surround me with Your presence during this time.

FORWARD: 4 Minutes Listening To God: Take the next four minutes to read the Bible. Your greatest need is to hear a word from God. Allow the Word to strike fire in your heart. Meet the Author!

INWARD: 2 1/2 Minutes Talking To God (Prayer): After God has spoken through His Book, then speak to Him in prayer.

OUTWARD: 2 Minutes Preparing your Action: Ask yourself this question: How can I take today’s Quiet Time and put it into action throughout my day?

DAY 1

Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.

Colossians 1:28

What is spiritual maturity? Spiritual is our eternal nature. And maturity means being “fully grown,” or “having reached the most advanced stage in a process.” So we can define spiritual maturity as becoming fully grown in our spirit. That’s great—but how do we measure “fully grown”? A great place to look is in today’s verse.

Paul defines the measure of “fully grown” as Jesus himself. He wrote this letter to a young church in Colosse. They were in the early stages of their spiritual maturity, so Paul packed Colossians with layers of profound truths. Scholar N.T. Wright describes Colossians as a blooming flower. So, where does this blooming-flower of a book, focused on growing these young Christian’s spiritual maturity begin? Paul begins their journey with prayer. His prayer for them in Colossians 1:9–10 reads like this: “And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.

THE PATH TO SPIRITUAL MATURITY- Let’s look carefully at Paul’s prayer and apply to our lives today. I see at least five points we can draw out.

They were prayed for continually.

They were filled with the knowledge of God’s will.

They received spiritual wisdom and understanding.

They got this knowledge, wisdom, and understanding for their spiritual walk.

The aim of their spiritual walk is to be pleasing to God, bear fruit, and know God more deeply.

Adapted From: http://shortdailydevotions.com

DAY 2

A fool gives full vent to his spirit, But a wise man quietly holds it back.

Proverbs 29:11

The question of how to deal with anger in a biblical way is an important one. But it’s certainly not the cookie-cutter answer many of us have heard. Have you ever had a moment where you said something in red-hot anger? Only to ask yourself moments later: “How could I say that?” Sadly, I’ve had far too many of these moments. And today’s devotional verse calls me out as acting like a “fool” who let anger control my words and actions. However, I don’t think the heart of this passage is to simply suppress anger or other negative emotions. It’s not about pretending like anger isn’t there. After all, psychologically speaking, shoving emotions aside doesn’t make them go away. Instead, it creates a tangled pile that will surface and need dealt with later.

So, what does the Bible teach us? He taught that everyone who is angry with his brother is liable to the same kind of judgment as a murderer (Matthew 5:20–21). And yet, he also chased predatory business people out of the synagogue with a whip (Matthew 21:12)!

HERE ARE THREE WAYS TO DEAL WITH ANGER BIBLICALLY:

Ask for the Holy Spirit to increase the fruit of the Spirit in your life (Galatians 5:22–23). When we’re angry, it’s actually the quickest path to being pruned and prepared for incredible growth. And understand that we absolutely need the Holy Spirit’s power to mature us here!

Address the anger head on by making peace with the person or situation you’re angry with. Jesus teaches us that conflict is actually the path to peace (Matthew 18:15–17; Matthew 5:23–24). Lashing out and attacking is not the way Christians do conflict. But avoiding it altogether and seething in anger is unbiblical as well.

Ask if your anger is righteous and justified—which is sometimes the case. And if so, does it require action? Is there evil or injustice to confront? Someone who is weak to defend? If so, act! But don’t do so to give “vent to your spirit” just to make yourself feel better. Be angry, but do not sin (Psalm 4:4). Righteous anger is aligned with God. It’s being angry at what makes God angry.

Adapted From: http://shortdailydevotions.com

DAY 3

You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. 2 I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. 3 Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. 4 I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. 5 I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you. 6 On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. 7 Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. 8 I cling to you; your right hand upholds me.

Psalm 63:1-8

In Psalm 63, David wrote, “You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; my soul thirsts for You.” God wants us to seek Him and have a loving bond with Him, as David did. So, how are we to do this?

Knowing Him is the first step, which takes priority above all other matters. David used the word thirst to describe his passion to know the Lord (Psalm 63:1); the apostle Paul likened his dedicated pursuit of God to a race (1 Corinthians 9:24). When we seek after Him with our heart and mind, we will find our soul becoming satisfied.

Our next step is to spend time in God’s Word. Making time to read and meditate on Scripture is essential for every believer. That’s how we learn who God is, how He works, and what He desires for us and the body of Christ. When we strive to know and understand the Word of God, the Holy Spirit will make the meaning spring to life.

Dedicating time to knowing and experiencing God is a critical step toward a satisfying walk with Him. Begin today by making a pledge to pursue Him more diligently and making time in your schedule for regular study and prayer. Your heavenly Father is waiting to meet with you.

Adapted From: http://intouch.org

DAY 4

But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.

John 4:14

Have you ever been so thirsty that nothing seems to quench your thirst? Water and even sports drinks didn’t help. Your deep thirst seemed almost unquenchable.

The Bible teaches that inside every man and every woman there is a deep spiritual thirst. It’s a thirst for God himself. All our attempts to quench or satisfy this thirst by some other means will meet with dissatisfaction. Maybe that’s why philosopher Eric Hopper wrote, “The search for happiness is one of the chief sources of unhappiness.”

One hot afternoon some 2,000 years ago, Jesus met a spiritually thirsty woman. The Lord went out of His way to seek out this poor, lonely, empty, and burned-out woman at a well in Samaria. He said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water” (John 4:10). But do you know what it comes down to? This woman was lonely for God. It wasn’t water or a human relationship that she needed. She needed God.

Are you thirsty inside? Perhaps you have a spiritual thirst right now. Maybe you have tried to satisfy it with so many other things, but have come up empty time and time again. Jesus offers you the same solution that He offered the Samaritan woman. He told her, “Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst . . . ” (John 4:14).

He will satisfy the deepest thirst of your life. He will give you living water, and you will never thirst again.

Adapted From: http://harvest.org

DAY 5

My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Galatians 2:20

The 18th-century preacher John Wesley once wrote to a fellow believer, “Give me one hundred who fear nothing but sin, and desire nothing but God, and I care not a straw whether they be clergymen or laymen. Such alone will shake the gates of hell, and set up the kingdom of heaven upon earth.”

It reminds me of the complaint an angry mob in Thessalonica brought to the city leaders: “These who have turned the world upside down have come here too” (Acts 17:6 NLT). Although this was a criticism, it was a supreme compliment as well. It acknowledged the impact that Paul and Silas were making on their first-century world. Jesus said, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Mark 8:34 NKJV).

His disciples would have easily understood this illustration. In the first century, when they saw someone surrounded by Roman guards and carrying a cross through the streets of Jerusalem, there would have been no question in their minds as to what was going to happen. That person was about to be laid down on that cross and crucified on it. Someone who carried a cross was someone who was going to die. The person Jesus was describing is someone who wants God’s will more than their own. The apostle Paul said, “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20 NLT).

If ever there was a time when the world needed to be turned upside down, so to speak, the time is now. But fair-weather followers need not apply. It will have to happen through committed believers like those whom John Wesley was looking for: people who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God.

Adapted From: http://harvest.org

MOVING FORWARD

One of the best ways to fight temptation and grow in your daily walk with Jesus is to memorize His Word. Begin to commit His words to your memory this week.

Memorizing may be as simple as repeating the passage aloud 10 times each day or writing it 5 times each day. It may be that you place a 3x5 card on your mirror to remind you each day. Whatever it takes you won’t be let down with His Word in your mind and heart. Consider this…

“Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”

John 7:37b-38

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